3 Practical Ways to Replace Your Black Hat Rankings With White Hat Strategies

Filed in SEO by on November 25, 2015

I feel like we’ve got a fairly open, helpful, (and can I even say loving?) NicheHacks community that likes to help each other, so I’m just going to come right out and say it:

When you’re new to the game and you start a niche site from scratch, you inevitably get involved with some sort of black hat or grey hat SEO strategies.

It doesn’t mean you’re a bad niche marketer, or that you're a slime ball, it just means that you’re new and you’re still learning the ropes.

But that doesn’t change the fact that those strategies (or the rankings won by using those strategies) aren’t at risk of being struck down by Google or any of the other search engines.

Because the thing is, even when we, the most well-meaning niche marketers out there, unintentionally do some black hat SEO to get rankings, Google doesn’t really care about how good our intentions were… they just care that we’re following their rules, whatever those rules happen to be.

So right now you might be stuck with a site that got the majority of its rankings and traffic from less-than-pristine methods, but now that you’ve realized that these are not good for your site in the long run, you want to change it.

While there’s no overly easy solution or magic remedy for seamlessly deleting your black hat activity and replacing it with instant and equally effective white hat activity, there are some things you can do to proactively work in the right direction.

(Check out how to use parasite websites for easy clickbank rankings)

And if Google does happen to come down on you?

You’ll be able to show them that you’ve realized your mistakes and are moving in the right direction... hopefully lessening the brunt of the punishment and keeping your site from being banned on their search engine.

 

 

What You’ll Learn

  • Exactly what you should do about backlinks from black hat SEO sites
  • The whitehat SEO practices that will get you Google love, rank you, and make you money
  • What to do when you've been copying and pasting your own content for a little too long
  • How to improve your on page SEO and better use keywords so you rank more often

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 220 profitable buyer keywords click here or the image below)

 

1. Stop Keyword Stuffing & Start Writing the Realistic Content Google Loves

We’ve all read those crappy articles that are stuffed with keywords.

They’re hardly readable and beyond frustrating.

Because sure, adding every single keyword you can think of might get you a boost in your search engine traffic for a short amount of time, but once people start bouncing off your pages the same way your request to discuss a pay raise sends your boss suddenly out of the office with "meetings" to attend for the rest of the day, the search engines are going to notice.

And then they’re going to take a closer look at your crappy copy and penalize you, plummeting your site's rankings.

They don’t like it when you provide a crappy on-site experience with out of context phrasing, and neither do your potential users.

To get rid of your over-stuffed keyword blogposts and landing pages, go through an entire rewrite.

Decide one keyword phrase or topic you want the page or post to focus on, and write that page out like you were talking to a friend… WITHOUT trying to force that same phrase in 25+ times.

(Trust me, the keyword itself and acceptable variations of it will come out often enough that you won't have to worry about it.)

You can find ways to work variations of it into your headlines and subheadings if you want to throw a few more in there than naturally come out in your writing (as long as they make logical sense), and add them to your meta description so you can tell potential readers and search engines alike what your page is about.

 

keyword stuffing examples

These seven examples of keyword stuffing by Ezine's editorial manager Vanessa are wonderful. Though these practices are tempting because they're so easy to execute, do your best to avoid them.

 

Continuing with the "cheap skinny jeans" example from above, I did a Google search for the phrase. This was a listing that caught my eye--notice how they've used pieces of the keyword in natural, descriptive ways.

Continuing with the "cheap skinny jeans" example from above, I did a Google search for the phrase. This was a listing that caught my eye--notice how they've used pieces of the keyword in natural, descriptive ways. It was #2 in search results.

 

Here's the listing itself, which I saw as soon as I clicked through from Google's results page. It uses the "skinny jeans" keyword once in the title and once in the description, which is sufficient. Everything else is focused around helping the buyer make a decision on whether or not they want these skinny jeans.

Here's the listing itself, which I saw as soon as I clicked through from Google's results page. It uses the "skinny jeans" keyword once in the title and once in the description, which is sufficient. Everything else is focused around helping the buyer make a decision on whether or not they want these skinny jeans.

 

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2. Quit it With Link Fabrication & Build Quality Links that Will Work as Long as Your Site is Running

In the beginning, buying backlinks from sites that are (at least temporarily) in favor of Google and have decent rankings themselves can be very tempting.

A lot of people refer to this practice as link farming, though link farming is not exactly the same as link buying because when you opt in to a link farm, you're opting in to a network of websites that all only link back to each other.

Depending on the size of the farm, it may take some time for its results to be debunked by search engines, but it is still just as frowned-upon of a practice as link buying.

If any of these practices resemble what you've been doing to get links back to your site to boost your SEO, you may be guilty:

  • You've paid someone to put links back to your website around the web for you.
  • You've signed up for an agreement (paid or not) where other site owners link back to you, but in return, you have to link back to them.
  • The sites linking back to you and the sites you're required to link to may or may not have anything to do with the core content of your website.
  • A service you're paying money to promises that you'll be instantly linked to on a network of various types of sites "proving" your SEO legitimacy to search engines.

Particularly the the time required vs. the opportunity cost you’re “wasting” by spending the time to write guest posts and build up those links organically.

But, since this is such a frowned-on practice by Google (for obvious reasons—fake links only prove fake value, not value you’ve actually earned), it’s only a matter of time before a crackdown happens if you've still got existing links on a black hat site.

Google, however, realizes this is a common practice and that sometimes otherwise well-meaning site owners can get sucked into this trap.

The first thing you need to do, especially if you’ve already noticed lower numbers of organic traffic coming to your site is to go to your Google Webmaster Tools homepage, click on Search Traffic, and then on Links to Your Site.

 

This is where you can find the links back to your site. If you're not using Webmaster Tools yet, get it here.

This is where you can find the links back to your site. If you're not using Webmaster Tools yet, get it here.

 

From here you’ll be able to see who is linking to your site most often, and even be able to download the links for your reference.

Get in touch with the site owners where your spam links are hosted and try to get them to take down your links. Hopefully that will work, but experience has taught Google that it doesn't always.

 

"If you believe your site's ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site." -Google

 

In that case, you can take the link files that you’ve downloaded, select the ones you want to disavow that are negatively affecting you, and upload them into the Disavow Links Tool. (Important: See all of Google’s instructions and warnings surrounding this practice here.)

 

disavow links

Google lets you disavow links that you believe are harming you that you've already tried to get rid of, but have been unsuccessful with.

 

Once that’s done, do not fall into the trap of buying backlinks or doing anything that’s less than pristine and totally transparent to get backlinks to up your SEO ever, ever again.

Guest posting for value first, links second is probably the best, most sustainable strategy out there. (Yes, even though it takes time. But your long-run rankings and profits will thank you.)

 

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3. Say Goodbye To Copy/Paste & Article Spinning Methods so You Can Better Serve Your Readers (And the Search Engines)

According to Google, “In some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.”

At first, you might be thinking, “Of course I don’t plagiarize!”

But this isn’t about plagiarism.

Imagine you’ve got one niche site that’s doing well, so you want to buy out similar domains in the same niche to increase your profitability potential in that niche.

You’ve already spent a good amount of time and money producing quality content that you own, so you think “Why not put it up on my other sites?”

It’s certainly faster and less expensive than reinventing the wheel for each of those new domains you buy out.

But this is what search engines see as a no-no.

If someone’s searching for information in your niche, the reason they’d check out different sites is to get more information and different opinions… not to read the exact same content over and over again.

But even if you do have multiple niche sites in the same niche, it’s very important to make sure you use original content, especially if you want them all to have a fair shot at decent search engine rankings so you can dominate that market.

(Note: If you are syndicating an article or two, make sure the host syndicate use the noindex meta tag so search engines won’t crawl that content and recognize it as a duplicate.)

Another similar and seemingly innocent approach to churning out more content to bulk up your site's organic SEO is article spinning.

Article spinning services promise to take a post you've already written and "spin" the content so it doesn't appear to be duplicated or plagiarized into 5 to 10 new, fresh articles that you can publish directly on your website or around the web.

Again, it seems like a great way for new niche marketers to easily and cheaply build out their site's content, but the reality is that search engines are getting better and better and seeing directly through this practice.

The better alternative, though it takes more time, is to focus on building out your site's content one quality, non-duplicated piece at a time.

Because even if you're only publishing one post per week instead of five, you're building a strong backbone of content that won't break and that your site can rely on for years to come.

 

Share this tip with your followers!

Tweet it here.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 220 profitable buyer keywords click here or the image below)

 

 

Going One Step at a Time & Keeping The Search Gods Happy

The best approach to undoing black hat SEO and turning your site around to white hat practices only is to go step by step, doing one thing at a time.

It's impossible to do it all at once, so just pick a place to start and do one thing per week.

This way, your site won't suffer too much traffic loss all at once (you'll keep your profits more stable), and you'll also be able to commit time to building things up to work right so you won't lose out too much.

Plus, if a crackdown does happen and you need to appeal to a search engine, you'll be able to show them the work you've been doing to make things right.

Chelsea Baldwin
Chelsea has a background in journalism and IT, and besides writing for NicheHacks, she's the founder of Copy Power, a business and a website that helps business owners figure out how to get remembered online via copywriting.

She excels in the topic of SEO but can write on a wide range of topics of which you can discover by clicking on her name.

Comments (5)

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  1. Chelsea Baldwin says:

    I for one am so glad Google started putting phrases together on its own so we don't have to force certain phrases into on-site text anymore in a way that's grammatically incorrect just to get rankings. (Making suggest #1 so much easier to deal with.)

    What about you guys?

  2. Gaz says:

    I have used some black hat SEO methods when I started my first website one year ago.
    For about two months, I have been trying to clean these bad links from my website as they are hurting my rankings.
    After reading this article, I learned a lot how to replace my old Black Hat SEO with White Hat SEO.
    Thank You for this post!

  3. Clare says:

    As someone completely new to all of this, I found this article very informative indeed. Thank you for this post!